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Property Surveying Blog
Written by Seyi Omogbehin

In this week’s Party Wall Surveying blog post, I’m going to look at what three choices an Adjoining Owner has when served with a Party Wall Notice.

Whenever a Party Wall Notice is served by a Building Owner upon an Adjoining Owner, the Adjoining Owner has a statutory response period of 14 days from the Notice date to formally respond. It is also worth noting that as per Freetown v Assethold Ltd, a Notice is legally deemed as received “in the ordinary course of post” therefore the recommended allowance is a further 2 days, totalling 16 days.

When served a Party Wall Notice, there are a total of three specific responses that can be chosen by an Adjoining Owner, these options are as follows:

  1. Consent to the works
  2. Dissent to the works and appoint an Agreed Surveyor
  3. Dissent to the works and appoint their own Party Wall Surveyor

I will provide you with simple explanations for the three options listed above:

Consent to the Works

Option 1 would see the Adjoining Owner consenting to the Building Owner’s Party Wall Notice. This option reserves the securities the Act affords an Adjoining Owner and means the Building Owner can proceed without any further Party Wall Surveying formalities or procedures being followed. In my opinion, one of the most significant being the Schedule of Condition Report which is significant, as it records the pre works condition of the Adjoining Owner’s property wholly, therefore for the situation where damage is cased, there’s proof to show this was absent in advance.

Dissenting to the Party Wall Notice and appointing an Agreed Surveyor

Option 2, this would be appointing an Agreed Surveyor, as discussed above, the appointed Party Wall Surveyor will then act impartially on behalf of both the Adjoining Owner and the Building Owner. The Surveyor has an objective of agreeing a Party Wall Agreement and resolving the Party Wall Dispute.

In my opinion, the appointment of an Agreed Surveyor is usually in the best interest of the Building Owner as more often than not, it is substantially more time effective with regards to the drafting of the Party Wall agreement as its being agreed by one Party Wall Surveyor in contrast with two different Party Wall Surveyors which normally has included delays associated with normal Surveyor communication, response etc…

Another advantage an Agreed Surveyor gives the Building Owner is cost-effectiveness, as the Building Owner’s expense for an Agreed Surveyor will be fundamentally lower than hosting to pay for two separate Party Wall Surveyors arrangement to agree a Party Wall Award.

Dissenting to the Party Wall Notice and appointing their own respective Party Wall Surveyors

Finally, option 3, this would be an Adjoining Owner simply appointing their own respective Party Wall Surveyor to administer the Party Wall Surveying procedures on their behalf. The selected Party Wall Surveyor would work intimately with the Building Owner’s Party Wall Surveyor on the provisions of the Award to ensure a compelling and just Party Wall Agreement is agreed and served.

Contemplating everything, an Agreed Surveyor accompanies two appealing motivating forces, one being time productivity, which means works can start quickly, and in conclusion lower cost thus allowing the conserving of funds that can be utilised elsewhere on the property works. Though, as initially stated, an Agreed Party Wall Surveyor can only be appointed upon agreement of the Adjoining Owner, as per Amir-Siddique vs Kowaliw there are cost implications should an Adjoining Owner refuse an Agreed Surveyor appointment.

Besides, in an occasion that damage is caused from Party Wall development works, with an arrangement of an Agreed Party Wall Surveyor, the issue would have the option to be managed significantly more time proficiently as there is no partner to affirm the degree of damage or cost, as all the details will already be of knowledge of the Agreed Party Wall Surveyor rather than it has to be discussed and agreed by two separate Party Wall Surveyors.

If you have any more questions, or want our help through this process, why not call one of our experienced Party Wall Surveyors now, we offer 30 minutes free advice to all callers.